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Permits for those looking to spend time in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness this summer go on sale next week. 

But this year, thousands of fewer people will be able to go to the popular wilderness area. 

The U.S. Forest Service has reduced the number of groups allowed in by 13% or 5,700 permits. However, there will still be 37,500 permits available when they become available.

It can be difficult to determine how many people this could impact because a permit is good for a single person or up to a group of nine. The Star Tribune says this change means about 23,000 fewer people will visit the BWCAW this year. 

The U.S. Forest Service is reducing the number of permits available due to increased visitation that's led to congestion and damage to parts of the wilderness.

"We have seen increased visitation, damage to natural resources (littering, tree cutting, visitors not using wilderness latrines), and congestion and crowding resulting in degradation of the wilderness and the visitor experience," Joanna Gilkeson of the U.S. Forest Service told Bring Me The News in December.

Permit reservations for the 2022 quota season, May 1-Sept. 30, will be available starting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 26, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release Thursday. You can book your reservation online here or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Related [Dec. 3, 2021]: Forest Service limiting permits to the Boundary Waters due to damage, overcrowding

Permits are required year-round for everyone who visits the BWCAW. From May 1-Sept. 30 there is a quota permit system for overnight visitors and motorized day trips, which is designed to maintain the integrity of the wilderness area by preventing too many people from entering the BWCAW at the same location, which can result in significant physical and social resource damage to the area.

According to BWCAW documents released this week, the U.S. Forest Service is reducing daily entry point quotas across the board by 37.5. This year, there are 248 total daily permits for overnight camping, documents show. You can find a list of the quotas at each entry point here.

Before making your reservation, Forest Service managers encourage visitors to have at least three travel options (dates and entry points) before making a reservation in case your preferred option isn't available. Here are some more tips.

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